Ozone can cause serious problems

The Associated Press article on high ozone levels caused by gas drilling in Wyoming didn't really inform your readers of the seriousness of excess ozone. High ozone levels cause deaths in people with respiratory problems and more hospitalization of children. Ozone reduces crop yields, threatening agriculture, our region's largest industry. The problem is already closer to home. Rural Chautauqua County, with more gas wells than any other New York county, has worse ozone pollution than New York City.

We all know people with respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema. They will be at special risk. State Department of Health researchers said: "Asthma hospitalizations are significantly associated with increased ozone levels. We found stronger associations among younger children."

If our ozone rises to the levels reportedly caused by gas drilling in Wyoming, an additional 405 state residents in Marcellus Shale counties would be hospitalized each year, deaths from respiratory disease would increase by 10 percent and 174 more people would die each year from lung disease like emphysema.

Farmers who plan to continue farming should pay attention to USDA statements about ozone's effect on their farms: "Ground-level ozone causes more damage to plants than all other air pollutants combined."

NASA uses satellites to measure ozone's impact on crop yield. NASA says: "we've crossed the line to where modest increases in surface ozone result in crop growth being stunted."

National Agricultural Statistics Service showed 25 percent drops in soybean yields when ozone levels rise to the levels in Sublette County, Wyo. Similar losses occur with pasture grasses and legumes, especially white and red clover, that are key to successful grazing.

Ozone from gas drilling is much more than smoggy vistas and runny eyes. Ozone is one of six pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act because of serious economic and health dangers.

Dr. Kenneth Jaffe

East Meredith

No federal money for Planned Parenthood

In response to your Planned Parenthood editorial, I believe the same health services are available at full-service health clinics. I know that Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms. I do not want to finance Planned Parenthood with federal money.

Louis Nicholson

Fly Creek

Duke Snider's passing a sad event

The passing of Duke Snider is a sad event for me. No mention was made of the prayers said for him long ago. God knows my memory can be faulty, and I hope those who know better will correct me if I'm wrong _ but didn't at least one Catholic priest in Brooklyn at one time pray for God to end Duke's batting slump? It created quite a stir in its day but would probably pass unnoticed in these parlous times.

Elizabeth Avery

Oneonta

Planned Parenthood worthy of funding

Everyday, countless people still have sex. Teens, 20-somethings, unmarried couples and those not yet ready to have children are having sex. Married parents who have had all the children they desire to have are doing it, too. Yet, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana chooses this time to fight against Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides contraceptives, counseling, regular check-ups, testing and education to many of these people who are choosing to have sex. Pence and his constituents do not want federal funds being spent on an organization that "provides and promotes abortions."

However, federal funds are not used for abortions. It's illegal. Thus, what Pence is really trying to accomplish is to remove federal funding for programs that teach women (and men) how to prevent unwanted pregnancy, avoid disease and improve their reproductive health.

While his amendment likely stands no chance with the Senate, the fact that it has even reached that level should be absolutely terrifying to anyone who has ever had sex.

Here in South Central New York, Planned Parenthood will not survive without federal funds. If every branch closes its doors, thousands of our family, friends and neighbors will find themselves without affordable reproductive care and family planning. The bottom will drop out from under anyone who uses Planned Parenthood for contraceptives, check-ups, testing or treatment.

Planned Parenthood is an important organization with a worthy mission. To remove this option for health care would be a grave mistake on the part of the Senate. Please support your local clinic in any way you can.

Caitlin Kennett

Oneonta

Snowstorm was no surprise

Surprise snowstorm on March 6? I knew about this storm since the previous day from National Weather Service alerts, which are also posted on Yahoo! weather.

Seems more like a penny-pinching, poverty-crying, millions-squandering administration looking for an excuse to delay sending out road crews and paying for it. Why not wait and plow all at once when the storm is over, accidents and inconvenience be damned. It could be cheaper, and why give workers money that could be wasted elsewhere?

If it truly were a "total surprise" to city management, then there shouldn't be any fines for the snow emergency towing. Obviously, not everyone has to look out their window to make or not make an informed decision.

Richard Krzeminski

Milford

Tough time to be an American

With unemployment around 9 percent and millions of jobs lost, one wonders if this work will ever come back to America? While many jobs were lost to outsourcing (i.e. China, Mexico, India) in an attempt to maximize corporate profits, millions of others have disappeared because of "improvements" in technology.

How many positions were lost for instance, when the state Thruway adopted the E-Z Pass toll collection system? What about automated telephone answering systems _ "Press one for sales." Go to BJ's in Oneonta and exit through the self-service checkout line (who did that job before it became "do it yourself?").

Now companies want us to pay all our bills online, in an effort to save themselves money. This will lead to jobs lost both at the United States post office and in the corporate billing office.

It's a tough time to be a worker in America, with increased productivity demands, attacks on unions and the greed-induced economic recession. And while technology has undoubtedly led to conveniences for individuals overall, what has been its effect on the American work force? Just ask the workers in the auto manufacturing industry who have been replaced by robots.

Good luck.

Lyle R. Chastaine

Stamford

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